Bike racks are normally overlooked and do not get proper attention as much as they deserve. Eventually, Lead to the worst possible condition, and stop serving you way before they were expected. No one is to blame under such scenarios, other than the dirt and grime accumulated on the rack over time.
The bike racks should be properly cleaned and maintained periodically, as your cars do. It won’t only make them long-lasting but can add a few more years to their life as well. But should not be taken into the carwash to save your time and energy. Because they are meant to be treated differently to avoid damage.
How to Wash A Bike Rack – Detailed Guide
Let me walk you through the step-by-step guide, to understand how to wash and maintain your bike rack for prolonging its lifespan safely. Here we go;
2 Effective Ways To Clean Your Bike Rack
There are two effective ways to clean off the accumulated dirt and residue from your bike rack, including;
- Regular Cleaning
- Deep Cleaning
You can choose any of them, depending on the bike racks type and condition.
If you are not a frequent user, do not expose it to dirt a lot, or wash the rack after every month or two, then your rack would be in a good condition. This means following regular cleaning steps would be more than enough for you.
Whereas, if you have not washed your rack for a long time, and consider yourself to be a frequent user, then we don’t have to say much about it. It will surely be wrapped in dirt and needs a deep cleaning session.
1. Regular Cleaning
- Gently rub the bike rack using a rag to remove dirt and substances off your rack.
- Add your car wash detergent or mild soap to your water bucket. Stir it all together.
- Now use a new clean towel to dip in the water bucket, and then clean the bike rack thoroughly.
- After cleaning it with the soap and water mixture, use another dry cloth/towel to wipe down the rack.
This is all that you need to do, which won’t cost you much of your time. You should practice this method after every month at least to keep it clean as new.
You may also be interested to read about How to Get Bike Grease out of Clothes
2. Deep Cleaning
- Make the same soapy water, by mixing the water and the mild washing soap or a car wash detergent.
- Give your rack a basic cleaning using a cloth or a towel, after dipping it in the soapy water. You can also use a hose for basic cleaning and removing the loose dirt. You should not move to the next step until you soak the rack entirely in water.
- Now get any suitable citric acid to eliminate the stubborn residue off your rack. Don’t forget to wash off the rack again with water and cloth after applying citric acid to avoid any discoloration. I recommend to go with CitriSurf 77 Plus for effective results.
- Bring the lock cable out and wash it with the spray wash or using an already made soapy water and rinse it well. Put it back as soon as you clean it off.
- Lubricate the lock itself and the other moving parts.
- Use a Spray wax or apply an acrylic protectant such as Klasse High Gloss Sealant Glaze to make your bike rack shine like a new one. Whilst protecting it from acidic water, salt water and other pollutants.
You must be deep cleaning your bike rack once a year at least regardless of your frequency of use and the condition of the rack.
Read my detailed guide about going through a car wash with a bike rack
How to Maintain a Bike Rack?
You can’t go a long way only by cleaning once in a while and ignoring other things that matter to get the best out of your bike rack.
You should be keeping it maintained, and here’s how to do it;
1. Routine Check-ups
If you live in bad weather conditions, inspecting a rack after every 4-6 months should be a part of your consideration to keep it maintained. Look out for all the damages that could happen to it, and if there is any missing part. Replace all the damage or the missing parts, before the next use to avoid any hindrance during the journey.
You can also have a look at my guide on how to stop hitch rack from swaying.
2. Lubricate Moving Parts
Applying oil or lubricating all moving parts of your bike, should not be neglected at any cost. It helps to keep your rack working smoothly, as it is supposed to. Not only this, but lubrication will also not let your rack be rusty as well.
We recommend to go with T9 Bioshield lubricant, as it brings effective results and keeps your rack safe from rust and keeps it smoothly operational.
3. Tighten Bolts and Screws Timely
Bolts and screws can be loosened over a while. You need to tighten them up every now and then. Especially, before moving out on the adventure, you should be looking at it at least once. Otherwise, it could cause damage to your bikes and can make your adventure way more expensive than you might have thought.
If you own a minivan and planning to carry your bikes on it, have a look at my minivan bike racks review
4. Off-Season Maintenance
When you are done with your biking season, you should not let the rack attached to your car. Better to detach it and keep the rack indoors, after washing it thoroughly. This is how you can maintain it for long-lasting use. Otherwise, unnecessary exposure to dirt and pollutants can deteriorate the quality and lifespan of your rack.
While storing it back, you should keep all the spare parts and the rack itself altogether in the same place. If you don’t do so, you may mislocate some of the parts and find it struggling to spot them, when attaching the rack back to the car next year.
Final Thoughts about Bike Racks Cleaning and Maintenance
Investing a few minutes of your time can save you from spending a few more bucks to get a new bike rack, every bike riding season. You are just required to keep it clean, wash it periodically, lubricate the parts and do routine inspections. Now the decision is yours, either you get the best out of your purchase, or neglect the importance of washing and maintaining your bike rack.
Hi, I’m Alexandra Betty, co-founder of OutdoorGearsHub.com! I am a cycling enthusiast and currently living in Waltham, Massachusetts. I love just about everything about the cycling industry, which is why I created this site! Combining my passion with my work has always been extremely important to me. Feel free to reach out, leave comments, or recommend improvements to the site and its content so we can help you improve your cycling experience!
I am on a mission to enable everyone to spend more time on a bike and outdoors. So whether it’s on the road, gravel, mountain, e-biking, or just cruising around – Outdoor Gears Hub is the place to come for trusted advice.